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easy drawing techniques for kidsIn 1956, a psychologist by the name of Dr. Benjamin Bloom and a committee of educational professionals came up with three taxonomies, or learning domains, to enhance a student’s learning skills. These three domains were cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. If you plan to pursue a career in the educational field, it’s important that you know these three taxonomies, which are detailed below.

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The Cognitive Domain

The basic idea behind the cognitive domain involves the knowledge and intellectual skills that a student will develop. There are six categories involved within the cognitive domain, and they are usually considered to be stages of difficulty. Usually, the first category must be mastered before a student can move on to the next one. These categories are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Learn more about cognitive biases with an online course.

This particular category involves the recollection of data or information. Examples of this include knowing the safety rules or defining a term. Consider the importance of education in today’s society with this article.

After knowledge comes comprehension, which involves a number of different things. Comprehension involves understanding meaning, translating, interpreting instructions and problems, and stating a problem in your own words. Examples of comprehension could include explaining the steps of a complex task in your own words or translating a mathematical word problem into a mathematical equation.

Just as the category suggests from its name, application involves applying the lessons learned in the classroom to situations in life. Students will use the concepts they learn in a new situation without any prompting. Examples of application would involve a student using the proper steps to solve a math problem at home.

This particular category involves breaking down information into its separate parts to understand the organizational structure. Analysis also teaches students how to distinguish between facts and inferences.

Synthesis involves a process of putting something together from the pieces to create new meaning or a whole new structure. An example of this could be a student writing an essay regarding material that was read.

When students begin to make judgments about the value of ideas, they’re beginning the process of evaluation. In a classroom, a good example of this would be book reports that involve summarizing what was read and giving an opinion of what they thought about the material.

Lorin Anderson worked with a new group of educational professionals in the 1990s to make changes to Bloom’s taxonomy. One of the major changes he made was to the cognitive domain. He changed the main categories from noun forms to verb forms, and he rearranged them just slightly. Knowledge was changed to remembering, comprehension to understanding, application to applying, analysis to analyzing, synthesis to creating, and evaluation to evaluating. He then switched the position of creating and evaluating.

The Affective Domain

The affective domain deals with a person’s emotions and how they are handled. Like the cognitive domain, there are major categories involved with this domain. They are receiving phenomena, responding to phenomena, valuing, organization, and internalizing values. Learn more about emotional intelligence in the classroom with an online class.

When you receive phenomena, you are aware of your surrounding. Your attention is focused on wherever that phenomena is coming from, and you adopt a willingness to hear if someone is speaking to you. Good examples of receiving phenomena involve listening to others with respect and remembering the names of people you just met.

People responding to phenomena become active participants. They respond when spoken to and have a motivation behind their reason for responding. Examples of responding to phenomena include class discussions and presentations. It also involves asking questions to better understand the phenomena.

When you place a value on something, it becomes important to you. This placing of value can be on an object, a phenomenon, or just a behavior. Examples of valuing include students sharing their opinion regarding a certain topic or a student who studies a particular subject more than others because of the value they placed in it.

This particular category involves the organization of your values into priorities. By doing this, you compare, relate, and synthesize those values. Examples of this are accepting responsibility for your behavior and time management skills.

Internalizing values is the category that involves creating a value system to control behavior. This value system should give your behavior a consistency that others can recognize. Examples of this involve cooperating in group work and a self-reliance when working alone.

The Psychomotor Domain

The third and final domain of Bloom’s taxonomy involves physical movement, coordination, and motor-skill usage. Developing the skills involved with the psychomotor domain takes practice. There are seven major categories involved with this taxonomy: perception, set, guided response, mechanism, complex overt response,adaptation, and origination. Help your child develop their motor skills with an online course.

This particular category for the psychomotor domain is similar to the receiving phenomena category of the affective domain. Using sensory cues to detect surrounding, motor activity is guided to where it is needed. Examples of perception involve recognition of non-verbal communication cues and using other senses beyond sight and hearing.

A readiness to act involves mental, physical, and emotional sets. These dispositions can help predetermine how a person will respond in a situation. Examples of this are knowing your abilities and recognizing your limitations. This particular category of the psychomotor domain is related to the category of responding to phenomena in the affective domain.

A humans’ first learning experiences are through imitation and trial and error, which is the basis of guided response. This is the early stage of learning a complex skill. Examples of guided response include following the instructions of an assignment or performing a mathematical equation just as the teacher demonstrated.

Mechanism is the intermediate stage involved in learning a complex skill. It involves learned responses that are now habitual and movements that are performed with confidence and proficiency. An example of this would be the average user of the computer. They don’t know how to do most repairs to their computer, but they can use a word processor and access the internet with ease.

This particular category is the expert stage involved in learning a complex skill. There is a higher proficiency in complex movement patterns with a minimum of energy used. If you have skills that fall under this category, you perform them without hesitation and automatically. Examples of this include people who can operate a computer with ease including downloading many programs without any help. Also, people who play instruments with ease and competence have achieved complex overt response regarding instrumental skill.

Once these pyschomotor skills are well developed, many people can modify them to fit new situations. This is the adaptation part of psychomotor domain. An example of this would be a teacher modifying her lessons to reach special needs of certain learners.

This category is similar to adaptation, but origination requires the creation of new movement patterns to fit a situation as opposed to adaptation using already-known skills for a new situation. Examples of this are gymnastic students who create a new routine or writers who arrange words in new ways to come up with new prose.

Other Learning Theories

Bloom’s taxonomy of learning is not the only theory out there. However, it is a good starting point for anyone interested in the education field. Other great theories to look at are the multiple intelligences and theories that build off of Bloom’s taxonomy. Discuss the learning theories you know in the comments below.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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